Sunday, July 5, 2015

Turkey Creek Lake

Two weeks ago I went paddling around the northern portion of Turkey Creek Lake, Louisiana. It's a beautiful area, with some incredible cypress. There is an interesting Water-body Management Plan document publicly available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries website, here. It covers some of the management issues they deal with, such as invasive aquatic species, both plants (water hyacinth) and animals (asian carp). 

Bald cypress leaves

It was tough trying to get a photo of this water spider, without leaning too far over in the canoe.

While paddling on the lake, I saw my first alligator gar, it surfaced a couple of feet from the canoe. I was able to get a decent glimpse of its long row of teeth and speckled scales.

Despite the fact that I went in the morning, it was still too hot to take Kermit, and have him sitting in a hot aluminum canoe in the sun. The humidity was essentially 100% and it was already close to 90 degrees F by the time I was in the water, with a heat index of at least 100 F. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Africa Lake- Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge

I took Kermit out paddling on Africa Lake in the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Africa Lake is an old oxbow lake of the Tensas River. The lake is smack in the middle of a large expanse of bottom land hardwood forest. This forest, the refuge, was the actually the location of the last confirmed sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the 1940s. 

It was a hot and humid day, but Kermit enjoyed being out on the water

I saw many alligators, I stopped counting after a dozen. The lake is very narrow, with very steep banks all around. I was the only person out on the lake, and I didn't see anyone else on the refuge until I was driving out. Paddling down the lake among alligators, with great blue herons, anhingas, and egrets flying overhead I could almost imagine myself having gone back in time. In my imagination, I've also thought these great water birds resemble pterodactyls, and alligators are essentially dinosaurs. 

A great pamphlet, which includes info on Africa Lake and many other areas to paddle can be found here. 

The shore has many large and beautiful bald cypress trees along it.

This inlet leads to the "Cypress Cathedral," and when the water is high to the second portion of Africa Lake.I intend to navigate through it sometime soon, and explore the rest of the lake. 

As I was driving out of the Refuge, I saw a green strip on the gravel road, I suspected it might be a snake so I stopped to check it out and found a beautiful little rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus).